With B-A-C-H: A Chromatic Universe, Austrian bass maestro Peter Herbert, serenades Johann Sebastian Bach while basing his schema upon the four-note-motive of the letters B-A-C-H and the chromatic transpositions. Basically, Herbert’s novel intentions allude to melding elements of classicism with softly rendered rhythmic structures and the band’s modern jazz style interplay as the leader penned all but three of these works.
Herbert’s employment of semitones and non harmonic tones within daintily performed motifs presents a curious proposition. However on the opener, “Fuga” pianist Marc Copeland’s wonderfully articulated phraseology and often magical thematic developments offer some respite from a nondescript theme brimming with extended note choruses by trumpeter/flugelhornist Ingrid Jensen and bass clarinetist Carol Robinson. The piece titled, “Stauber” features an underlying Afro-Cuban pulse amid a few diversions and sullen overtones, whereas Herbert, Jensen, Copeland and Robinson perform brief solo interludes on their respective works, “B-A-C-H bass”, B-A-C-H trumpet,” “B-A-C-H piano” and B-A-C-H bass-clarinet”.
The band executes subtle alterations in pitch, sans a strong reference point on the composition, “Divi Blasii”. On this piece, Copeland elevates the somewhat ambling or meandering proceedings to fairly lofty heights via his imaginative embellishments and sweet tempered musings. Otherwise, Peter Herbert’s modus operandi fails to sustain long term interest as one might get the impression that he produced this effort solely for his own edification or delight, yet we truly believe that is not the scenario here.
Track Listing: Fuga, Stauber, B-A-C-H bass, Stadtpfeifer, B-A-C-H trumpet, Divi Blasii, B-A-C-H piano, Hausmann, B-A-C-H bass-clarinet, Actus Tragicus, Heavy Snow
Personnel: Carol Robinson; bass-clarinet: Ingrid Jensen; flugelhorn/trumpet: Marc Copeland; piano: Kenny Wollesen; drums/percussion/